Boss of British Airways owner IAG, Willie Walsh, has ruled out a bid from the group for Thomas Cook’s airline business.
Cook placed its airline up for sale in February amid plummeting profits and rising debts, confirming to TTG it was willing to accept whole or partial offers.
Potential suitors include Lufthansa, which has made a non-binding offer for German carrier Condor, chief executive Carsten Spohr confirmed last week.
A Lufthansa spokesperson also confirmed to TTG the offer, initially just for Condor, “had the opportunity to extend to all Thomas Cook airlines”.
Virgin Atlantic, Sky News reports, is interested in Cook’s long-haul operations out of Gatwick, Manchester and seasonally at Glasgow.
Such a move would complement its existing long-haul operations at its Gatwick and Manchester bases. Both Virgin and Cook declined to comment when approached by TTG last week.
WOW Air private equity investor Indigo Partners is also believed to be interested in Cook’s airline division.
IAG chief executive Walsh though, speaking after the group issued its first quarter results on Friday (10 May), told reporters: “In relation to Thomas Cook... we’re not putting in any bid.”
The speculation comes after Cook set a 7 May deadline for expressions of interest in its airline business.
The historic travel firm will issue its first-half results on Thursday morning, where it is expected to clarify progress on the proposed sale of its airline.